Metacognition, or awareness of the process of learning, is a critical ingredient to successful learning.
Metacognition is an important concept in cognitive theory. It consists of two basic processes occurring simultaneously: monitoring your progress as you learn, and making changes and adapting your strategies if you perceive you are not doing so well. (Winn, W. & Snyder, D., 1998)
It's about self-reflection, self-responsibility and initiative, as well as goal setting and time management.
Metacognitive skills include taking conscious control of learning, planning and selecting strategies, monitoring the progress of learning, correcting errors, analyzing the effectiveness of learning strategies, and changing learning behaviors and strategies when necessary." (Ridley, D.S., Schutz, P.A., Glanz, R.S. & Weinstein, C.E., 1992)
Williams & Burden (1997) suggest that most of the procedures they surveyed:
generally involved a sequence of first helping students identify or become aware of strategies they are already using, then presenting and explaining a new strategy, with rationale for using it. At this stage the teacher might model the strategy. This is followed by practising it, at first with substantial support or ‘scaffolding’ but gradually reducing this to encourage autonomous use. Finally, students are helped to evaluate their success.